Johnson successfully defended his UFC flyweight title for the
first time Saturday night, taking a hard-fought unanimous decision
over John Dodson
in the main event of
UFC on Fox 6.
In Dodson, Johnson faced arguably his greatest test at 125 pounds
to date. After a competitive first frame, “The Magician” proved his
status as No. 1 contender was warranted in the second stanza, when
he twice dropped “Mighty Mouse” with hard left hooks.
“The first couple of rounds were hard. He showed some stuff that I
wasn’t ready for, and I had to dig deep like a champion and pull
through and keep the pressure on him,” said Johnson. “He was fast.
I should have just followed the game plan, but I was getting greedy
and too excited, and I was standing there, brawling with him. Then
I got caught. I got up, and I was like, ‘You’re alright. Just relax
and breathe, and you’re going to get through it. You just got
After hitting the deck in the second frame, Johnson saw his
superior conditioning take over as the bout wore on. Though
Dodson’s fast hands and explosiveness have proved a challenge for
the champion the early going, it was Johnson who appeared the
fresher of the men down the stretch, a fact that he attributes to
both his preparation and Octagon experience.
“Anybody can be fast in the first couple of rounds. My wife is fast
in the first round, but it’s a five-round fight. You’ve got to be
fast all five rounds, and I am,” said Johnson. “Going five rounds
with Joseph [Benavidez] and Dominick [Cruz] and six rounds with
McCall, that stuff is all under my belt. Now I went five rounds
with a guy who isn’t faster than me, but he’s close. Going five
rounds with him helps me out a lot. That’s what other fighters have
to look forward to when they fight me.”
The championship rounds were particularly impressive for Johnson,
despite accidentally catching a downed Dodson with an illegal knee
to the head during a fourth-round flurry. Mighty Mouse then closed
the distance on his hard-hitting foe in the final frame,
controlling him in the clinch while punishing the challenger with
knees, punches and elbows.
“If you look at all of John Dodson’s fights, he does not like to be
in the clinch,” said Johnson. “When you’re clinching with Matt Hume and
getting kneed by him on a daily basis, you’re ready for a knee from
anybody in the flyweight or bantamweight division.”
Though Johnson is regarded by many as one of the sport’s top
pound-for-pound talents, the AMC Pankration product says he is by
no means satisfied with his resume as it currently stands.
“I’m just a hard worker,” said Dodson. “I know I still have lots to
improve on. I’m ready to go back home and get ready for my next
fight and keep on improving as a mixed martial artist.”